Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Regional Office Belgium > Blog > Finding a location for your franchise in Belgium

Finding a location for your franchise in Belgium

You want to launch your property career and you already have some plans in mind: you’ve decided to invest in a property franchise, which involves a partnership between an independent agency (the franchisee) and the franchisor, which is a top brand. However, to really get your career underway, you need to overcome one major challenge before setting up shop – choosing the location. Wherever it is in Belgium, the location of your point of sale will be a decisive factor in the success of your venture, and that is the reason why you need to move forward with a methodical approach derived from a full understanding of the commercial property market.

Organise your search

The first step in finding the perfect location for your franchise is the search itself. To do this, you need to be rigorously organised. Remain open-minded in your search and follow every opportunity that opens up: estate agencies, specialist Belgian websites, small ads and even word-of-mouth. However, you also have to develop an instinct for responding in the right way: for instance, you need to know that, in an average town or city in Belgium, just one agency will have a 50% market share.

Secondly, it’s worthwhile completing an analytical table, setting out a range of specific criteria to help you identify the best possible location in Belgium. The criteria may include specific factors such as the width of the storefront, the condition of the building’s frontage, or relate to the location more generally, such as the levels of footfall and vehicular traffic, how visible the agency wold be, the level of existing competition and the potential for the future. By using a points system for different locations, you can determine your priorities and create a ranking. Other aspects to be taken into account include the catchment area, the average income of the local population, the potential for revenue; however, if the results of your market research are negative, you need to bring the project to a close.

Be familiar with the premises

To find the perfect premises for your franchise in Belgium, you need to be familiar with the location’s history. If the premises have changed hand several times over a short period, it’s generally a bad sign. In addition, you need to know what the relationship with the landlord was like, and what the financial turnover of the previous occupant was. Even though a good location will be more expensive, it’s always preferable to invest in a high-quality location – once you have completed your due diligence – not least because you are more likely to be able to sell high-quality location when the time comes to move on. Some information can be obtained from the outgoing tenant, who will be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of the location.

Understanding customers’ movements at the location is also fundamental to your future venture. Franchisees need to be familiar with the levels of footfall, both at peak shopping times in Belgium such as Wednesday afternoon and Saturday and at off-peak times such as Monday or Friday morning. As such, you can help to stack the odds in your favour so that customers will find your estate agency and actually walk through the door!

Check the final details

Even though it is possible to complete a good number of searches online, it’s always worthwhile to go into the field and experience the atmosphere of the location for yourself and talk with the local inhabitants and businesspeople. Also ensure that the location is compatible with your plans – for example, the roof height in a car park – and that it complies with all health and safety regulations in Belgium are complied with, with compliant emergency exits and a smoke extraction system, etc. Moreover, you will need to anticipate any changes in the neighbourhood and find out whether any redevelopment projects are planned over the next three to five years.

The perfect location in Belgium for your franchise

Finding the perfect location for your future franchise is the first major choice that you need to take when launching your business; hence, it is also the first crucial step in taking control of your future as well. As soon as you’ve found your base location, you’ll be ready to turn your project into reality – so start your search for the perfect Belgian location for your franchise and take your first steps towards and estate agency of your own.

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner Regional Office Belgium

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